‘Tuscan itineraries’

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Bagno Vignoni: The Water Square

La Toscana: Tuscan itineraries, Tuscan Spa

We’re surrounded by the most beautiful scenery, and overlooked by the Val d’Orcia. I think it’s officially called in English, a hidden gem, unspoilt and idyllic; a quiet, peaceful village called Bagno Vignoni. This is a seriously magical place, which is physically just how it was in the 1400s as the buildings haven’t changed at [...]


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Bagni San Filippo: The Water Story

La Toscana: Tuscan itineraries, Tuscan Spa

Tuscany is truly an amazing region. It isn’t just Florence, Siena and Lucca that have beautiful places on offer. It only takes the small, picturesque houses of central Tuscany to make you feel you’re on a film set. There are waterfalls, that, combined with the beauty of the Tuscan sunshine, and forestry really are splendid. [...]

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Campocatino: a Slice of the Scottish Highlands in Italy!

La Toscana: Tuscan itineraries

These magnificent mountains are famous the world over for their caves, and their marble. They were used by Michelangelo, which unofficially says that they are the best the world can offer. These mountains are truly unspoilt and beautiful, complete with their own inhabitants, some dealing in marble, and some, leading a poor life, raising cattle [...]


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Volterraio Castle: Elba Island’s Guardian

La Toscana: Tuscan itineraries

Its name is a mystery. Perhaps it derives from the Etruscan word vul-tur, which means elevated cliff, or from the Latin vultur which means nest of vultures. It could even be a way of indicating the provenance of the architect from the province of Pisa who was appointed in 1281 to reinforce the fortress which [...]


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The New Districts of Florence

La Toscana: Florence, Tuscan itineraries

Florence’s New Districts were, it seems, designed by an architect called Arnolfo di Cambio who was also involved with the construction of magnificent Florentine buildings such as the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio. Of course, this new project did not just involve the building of single buildings, but of entire towns which would be located in [...]


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Vinci: The Town of Leonardo

La Toscana: Florence, Tuscan itineraries

Vinci is a small hilltop village, located 40 km away from Florence, which combines the typical mysterious charm of Tuscan villages with the fascinating culture of Leonardo. The village of Vinci is situated upon the slopes of Mount Albano, along the border between the provinces of Florence and Pistoia. Vinci was founded around the year [...]

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Toiano, an ancient castle in Valdera-damiano

La Toscana: Tuscan itineraries

Once again, I’d like to thank you for all the travel journals you have sent me over the past two months. From the many points you raised, there was one thing that particularly struck my attention: many of you expressed your wish to find out about the less touristy, undiscovered areas of Tuscany, places off [...]

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Officina in S.Maria Novella

La Toscana: Florence, Tuscan itineraries

One of the most absolutely suggestive places of Florence is the perfume-pharmaceutical shop of Santa Maria Novella. Found at Via della Scala 16, very close to the beautiful Santa Maria Novella piazza, the shop is among the oldest pharmacies in the world. Its origin is truly old, tied to the Dominican friars that in 1221 [...]

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The Abbey of Sant’Antimo Montalcino

La Toscana: Churches and monasteries, Tuscan itineraries

Going through the countryside in the province of Siena, between Montalcino and the course of the Orcia river, the Benedictine Abbey of Sant’Antimo presents itself like a revelation, surrounded by high cypress trees and centuries-old olive trees, in a country that is quite uncontaminated. Traces that time has jealously preserved for us, as if it [...]

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The character of Siena

La Toscana: Tuscan itineraries

Imagine a noble fairytale, a chivalrous poem, a miniature gothic city: this is Siena. In the background of a medieval Tuscany, without concrete or asphalt, just hot stone. Located in a sublime environment, but lacking natural resources, far from the ocean and always at odds with its eternal powerful rival – Florence. The rivalry between [...]

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The missing town of Semifonte

La Toscana: Florence, Tuscan itineraries

This story I’m telling you is a typical ancient legend of this land, part real, part fantasy. During the first part of the Middle Ages the castle of Semifonte rose on the hills between Certaldo and Barberino Val d’Elsa, in Chianti. Semifonte was built around the year 1000 and because of its political openess and [...]

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Sharks in Siena

La Toscana: Tuscan itineraries

Is it possible to see a shark near Siena, even if Siena is 40 km away from the sea! Yes, I saw one. But it had died 3 million years ago…fortunately! I say fortunately because this shark was very big. Its scientific name is Carcharocles Megalodon and lived during the Upper Pliocene (approximately 2-3 million [...]

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